The Salaman stood inside a half-circle shower stall made of smooth zoo stone and let the water spray upon him. Cliff was in a rubber suit and wearing high rubber boots and he stood outside the stall, his hands gripping a thick green hose that shot out a forceful stream of water. “Raise your arms and let me wash out those pits,” the zookeeper barked at him. He looked down between the Salaman’s legs and nodded with his head. “And make sure to wash that rotten crotch of yours, too. No woman is going to want to go down on that if you’re dirty.”
“How about a fresh bar of soap, comrade?” the Salaman asked in his deep voice.
Cliff scowled. “I gave you a fresh bar last week. How can you possibly use so much god damn soap?”
“Zip it. I like to be clean, you bastard.”
The zookeeper sighed, twisted a valve on the hose and walked off for a moment. When he returned, he unwrapped a fresh bar of soap and tossed it to him. “Here.”
The Salaman snatched it out of the air with one chimp-like hand. “Thanks.” He proceeded to lather up his lean, hairy body to the point he looked like a five-foot, nine-inch pillar of suds. “Have you seen her yet?” he asked through the foam. “Am I going to be glad she was on the menu?”
The zookeeper relaxed his stance some. “She’s a good-looking woman in a tight package if that’s what you mean. But remember, no romance.”
“I know. I’m glad you were able to secure some prey for me. And she is also aware of the stipulations?”
“Of course. We went over all of it with her.”
“No cuddling. No follow-up calls. No relationships whatsoever. And especially down the road when the little rug rats pop out. I don’t like kids; I just like making them.”
“Yes, yes, yes,” Cliff repeated with a certain degree of frustration. “It’s all in the contract.”
“Because you know, I’m not one for love,” the Salaman explained once again. “There can never be love. If it ever turns into love, my life here at the zoo will be over, and I can’t have that. I’d never survive in the world out there. This is my home.”
“Yes, yes, we are all aware,” Cliff said. “The world is no place for an animal such as yourself.”
“Spray me off now,” the Salaman ordered, and Cliff reignited the hose and white suds flowed off the Salaman’s body like lava down the side of a volcanic mountain. Once he was completely free of the suds, he motioned to Cliff to shut off the water. He stood there naked and dripping, waiting for the zookeeper to hand him a large, fluffy, white towel. He dried himself and then wrapped the towel around his waist and stepped into a pair of leather sandals.
“Would you like to go out into your enclosure and look at the sunrise before you hump her?”
“I would like that, Cliff. And I like that you know me so well, all my quirks and my keen interest in things like nature and astronomy.”
“And your films.”
“That reminds me. I think after mating I’d like to watch ‘Taxi Driver’ again.”
“That’s a good one.”
“One of the best.”
“That DeNiro is one hell of an actor.”
The Salaman nodded his head in agreement as they made their way through a heavy metal door to the outside enclosure. “I really do like how much you understand me, Cliff old boy. It’s fulfilling. Like I always say, you’re a good egg.”
“It’s my job. I do my best.”
The metal door closed with a heavy clang behind them. The Salaman looked up and sucked a deep breath from the morning air as they stepped out into it. “You know what my favorite planet is, Cliff?”
He sighed because he knew the joke but played along. “No. What’s your favorite planet?”
“What I meant to say is, well, not your anus, her anus,” he clumsily tried to explain. “Oh bother, what the hell am I even talking about?”
“Ass, I think. I’m not certain. Perhaps you’re just a bit worked up as you ready yourself for mounting.”
“Perhaps. I hope I’m not coming down with something. Germs. What horrible things. How about some hand sanitizer?”
Cliff the zookeeper patted himself down in search of the small bottle he always kept with him as the Salaman held out a hand.
“You know, during my days back in the real world, people used to make fun of me for using so much hand sanitizer, but mark my word, Cliff old boy, some day in the future, maybe 20 years or so from now, hand sanitizer is going to be one hot item. I have a sense about such things. I can feel it.”
“Found it. Here you go,” and he squirted a glob of the liquid into the Salaman’s waiting hand. “Now rub vigorously,” Cliff instructed.
“That’s what I plan on telling this hot babe today,” the Salaman said with a devilish grin, his perfect teeth glistening under the dimmed park lights of yellowish morning glory blue and pink.
“I don’t doubt it,” Cliff said.
“You can leave me now and check to see if she’s ready.”
“Do you think you’ll ever let me warm one of them up? I could really use the practice, and the exercise. Because, you know how it’s been between my wife and I.”
The Salaman clamped a sympathetic hand on the little gray man’s shoulder. “I’m sorry you don’t get any action, Cliff old boy. I truly am. But you must face reality. Look at yourself. You look like Arnold Horshack in the future. The women would run off screaming and where would that leave me?” he asked rhetorically. “With big, aching balls, that’s where.”
In the interior part of the Salaman’s zoo enclosure, there was a separate area off to one side with a luxurious four-poster bed draped with sheer curtains and Cliff had instructed her to wait there for him.
When the Salaman arrived, he moved aside a red drape and entered. He still had the towel wrapped around his waist, but he quickly undid it and it dropped to the floor before her revealing the legendary tool of animalistic penetration. The woman moved to the edge of the bed to get a closer look at him. Her eyes widened.
“Why don’t you take a picture, it will last longer,” he said to her.
The woman was taken back and looked up at him. “I’m not going to end up on that Internet thing, am I?”
“It’s a figure of speech, lady. What bus did you come in on? The one from Ding-A-Ling Town?”
“I was out for my morning run when that man approached me.”
The Salaman stepped over to a video camera perched on a tripod and turned it on. He peered through the lens, aimed it toward the bed, angled it just right, and made a couple of adjustments. “You left us an address to send your souvenir videotape to, right?” he asked.
She crinkled her brow and sighed. “Yes. In discreet packaging?”
“I run a reputable operation. If I say discreet, I mean discreet.”
“Because, god, if my husband ever gets a hold of this.”
“Don’t be dumb and leave it in the VCR, or, for an extra charge, we can provide you with a DVD. Do you have a DVD player?”
“Not yet. We’re thinking about it.”
“You should. Nearly flawless playback. Crisp, clean. I like that.”
“Can we please just get on with the sex? I heard you really know how to bury the seed.”
“You’re not wrong.”
“I hope I’m not. My biological clock is ticking.”
“Do I look like Father Time?”
“I mean, you guarantee it right? That’s what I was told.”
“If you’re not satisfied, come back again until you are. That’s my policy. It’s in the contract. Don’t you know how to read?”
“Yes, I know how to read.”
“Then put down the book and unzip it.”
“Get naked,” he ordered. She shed her remaining clothes and waited.
He walked around the edge of the bed, looking her over. “Did you wash yourself?”
“Because you’re required to wash yourself.”
“I know. I did.”
“Soap and water?”
“Spread yourself and let me see.”
“Do I stutter? I said spread yourself.”
She did as he ordered, and the Salaman closely inspected her. He grunted an approval, cracked his knuckles, and loosened his neck. “Now,” he commanded. “Make like a dog and I’ll give you a bone,” and he quickly moved on her like a jungle beast attacking its prey.
“Well, Cliff, I must say, that was refreshing,” the Salaman said to him as they lounged on lawn chairs inside the enclosure and looked up at the blue sky and a train of clouds. “I really gave it to her… And she took it like a real pro.”
“Congratulations on all your sexual success,” Cliff said halfheartedly.
“O, come on, Cliff. What’s the matter.”
He pointed up to the sky. “Time’s ticking down for me my friend. Just look at it. You can see the world just moving on and moving on and me along with it. My time is almost up. I can feel it in my bones.”
“Ah, knock it off, Cliff. You still got plenty left in you.”
“Do I now?”
“Sure, you do. Just because you’re not banging fresh meat every day… Don’t you have any hobbies?”
“Hobbies? Not really. I come to work. I go home. I watch television with the misses. I eat, drink, sleep. And church on Sundays.”
“Hmm… Say, you seem to have some interest in film. How about the next time I have a breeding session I let you operate the camera?”
Cliff excitedly sat forward. “You would really let me do that!?”
“Sure… You wouldn’t be uncomfortable, would you?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Just don’t try and play with yourself. I don’t need these hot babes running off screaming.”
Cliff scoffed. “Oh, brother. I wouldn’t do that. I’d do a good job. I’d take real pride in it.”
“I’m sure you would, Cliff. I’m sure you would… Hey, it’s a glorious day. Why don’t you go get us two boxes of animal crackers and let’s celebrate… You know, the ones that look like a train and have the white string attached.”
Cliff groaned. “Oh, boy. This is what my life has come to… Fetching animal crackers.”
The Salaman glanced over at him and smiled victoriously. “Yes, Cliff. It is.”